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an example of Steiner's sources

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  • Peter Staudenmaier
    One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner s teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on, the texts and ideas that were current at the
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 16, 2011
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      One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on, the texts and ideas that were current at the time he was formulating his worldview. Much of Helmut Zander's work on the history of anthroposophy focuses on this process, and the results are very illuminating for a historical understanding of Steiner and the movement he founded. The same approach can be applied to Steiner's racial teachings. Anthroposophy's basic assumptions about race and its spiritual significance drew on many sources, some of them esoteric and others scientific, with a considerable role for popular works as well. In a sense, Steiner's racial doctrines represent an ongoing effort to negotiate between esoteric and scientific approaches.



      Here is an example of the kind of scientific literature Steiner relied on in forming his racial views, a short book (under 50 pages total) in Steiner's library. The book is Alexander Pilcz, Beitrag zur vergleichenden Rassen-Psychiatrie (Wien: Deuticke, 1906), a study of "comparative racial psychiatry". Uwe Werner's recent book 'Rudolf Steiner zu Individuum und Rasse' (Dornach: Verlag am Goetheanum, 2011), 17, claims that the book contains not a trace of 'racial hygiene' notions. In reality, the book's very first pages highlight the "extreme differences" in the "cultural level" of the different racial and ethnic groups examined (iv); Pilcz concentrates on "Germans," "Jews," "Hungarians," "Chinese," and "Hottentots," among others. The book lists various mental illnesses according to how predominantly they appear in different racial and ethnic groups, with data taken mostly from clinics throughout the Habsburg lands. The book is forthrightly biologistic, emphasizing race as the root of these supposed findings. Much of the text is devoted to the Jews.



      The book asserts that Jews display disproportionate rates of paranoia, indeed the highest rates of any group, particularly for the "hereditary-degenerative forms" of paranoia. (15) Pilcz emphasizes "the especially strong disposition of the Jewish race toward hysteria," for instance (18). His chapter on non-European peoples starts with sections on the "Aryans" (25-26) and the "Semites" (26-32), followed by the "Mongolian race" (32-35), the "Malayan race" (35-39), the "Indians" (i.e. Native Americans, 39-40) and the "Negroes" (40-43). The "Semites" get by far the longest section -- lots of pathologies there. Among other things, the book posits as fact a "greater disposition of the Jewish race to mental disorders as such." (28) It also claims that "the Jews are disproportionately strongly disposed to psychoses of a hereditary-degenerative character." (29) The last page refers straightforwardly to "lower races" (44).



      Steiner's own statements on race were shaped in part by sources like this. Anthroposophy's racial ideas can be better understood in the light of this sort of background. Greetings to all,





      Peter S.
    • Roger Rawlings
      Thanks very much, Peter. I would be fascinated to learn anything else you can tell us — now or in the future — about Steiner s library and sources. (As we
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 16, 2011
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        Thanks very much, Peter.

        I would be fascinated to learn anything else you can tell us — now or in the future — about Steiner's library and sources. (As we know, he claimed to acquire knowledge through clairvoyant reading of the Akashic Record. There may be some slight reason to doubt this claim.)

        - Roger

        --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on
      • Eric
        Thanks for bringing this novel new book to our attention. The subtitle refers to Steiner s alleged engagement against racism and nationalism. But how does
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 16, 2011
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          Thanks for bringing this novel new book to our attention.

          The subtitle refers to Steiner's alleged engagement "against" racism and nationalism.

          But how does Werner justify this?

          Plus Helmut Zander would have "left out " what Werner brings forward and therefore Zander according to Werner , would have come to "erroneous" (?) conclusions when it comes to race and nationalism in the case of Steiner…

          While checking amazon regarding Werner's book I also noticed there is (per 13 October 2011) already another edition out of the new " Karma of Untruthfulness "

          Explaining that the hardbound (linen) new edition already sold out seven months after publication while still in demand… Therefore the (new 13 October 2011) edition is said to be "a special edition" in paperback form (with a new front cover).

          Based on Steiner quotes Zander hints at `voelkerpsychologische' themes also in some of the latter lectures, does Werner responds to that also?

          Regards,
          Eric


          --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on, the texts and ideas that were current at the time he was formulating his worldview. Much of Helmut Zander's work on the history of anthroposophy focuses on this process, and the results are very illuminating for a historical understanding of Steiner and the movement he founded. The same approach can be applied to Steiner's racial teachings. Anthroposophy's basic assumptions about race and its spiritual significance drew on many sources, some of them esoteric and others scientific, with a considerable role for popular works as well. In a sense, Steiner's racial doctrines represent an ongoing effort to negotiate between esoteric and scientific approaches.
          >
          >
          >
          > Here is an example of the kind of scientific literature Steiner relied on in forming his racial views, a short book (under 50 pages total) in Steiner's library. The book is Alexander Pilcz, Beitrag zur vergleichenden Rassen-Psychiatrie (Wien: Deuticke, 1906), a study of "comparative racial psychiatry". Uwe Werner's recent book 'Rudolf Steiner zu Individuum und Rasse' (Dornach: Verlag am Goetheanum, 2011), 17, claims that the book contains not a trace of 'racial hygiene' notions. In reality, the book's very first pages highlight the "extreme differences" in the "cultural level" of the different racial and ethnic groups examined (iv); Pilcz concentrates on "Germans," "Jews," "Hungarians," "Chinese," and "Hottentots," among others. The book lists various mental illnesses according to how predominantly they appear in different racial and ethnic groups, with data taken mostly from clinics throughout the Habsburg lands. The book is forthrightly biologistic, emphasizing race as the root of these supposed findings. Much of the text is devoted to the Jews.
          >
          >
          >
          > The book asserts that Jews display disproportionate rates of paranoia, indeed the highest rates of any group, particularly for the "hereditary-degenerative forms" of paranoia. (15) Pilcz emphasizes "the especially strong disposition of the Jewish race toward hysteria," for instance (18). His chapter on non-European peoples starts with sections on the "Aryans" (25-26) and the "Semites" (26-32), followed by the "Mongolian race" (32-35), the "Malayan race" (35-39), the "Indians" (i.e. Native Americans, 39-40) and the "Negroes" (40-43). The "Semites" get by far the longest section -- lots of pathologies there. Among other things, the book posits as fact a "greater disposition of the Jewish race to mental disorders as such." (28) It also claims that "the Jews are disproportionately strongly disposed to psychoses of a hereditary-degenerative character." (29) The last page refers straightforwardly to "lower races" (44).
          >
          >
          >
          > Steiner's own statements on race were shaped in part by sources like this. Anthroposophy's racial ideas can be better understood in the light of this sort of background. Greetings to all,
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Peter S.
          >
        • Eric
          Re. Steiner s library I am sure Peter can say more about Steiner s actual sources. What I noticed while checking Steiner s library at the R.St.archive, is
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 16, 2011
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            Re."Steiner's library"

            I am sure Peter can say more about Steiner's actual sources. What I noticed while checking Steiner's library at the R.St.archive, is that (apparently deliberately ripped out) large sections are missing from the books in his private library.

            Given the fact that carrying around a lot of books can indeed be heavy (and might be noticeable by the people who end up carrying the luggage of `clairvoyant' Steiner during his travels) I wondered if this maybe is an indication that he ripped out the portions he thought he might use or somehow felt he wanted to have with him, yet would fit in his own briefcase. I also noticed that there are several occasions where it is specifically mentioned (as a rarity in fact) that Steiner would never permit anybody to help him with carrying his visible "heavy" briefcase during his lecture tours.

            By reporting the above I do not mean to say of course that one can jump to (any kind of) conclusions here.
            Regards
            Eric


            --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "Roger Rawlings" <downfromfog@...> wrote:
            >
            > Thanks very much, Peter.
            >
            > I would be fascinated to learn anything else you can tell us — now or in the future — about Steiner's library and sources. (As we know, he claimed to acquire knowledge through clairvoyant reading of the Akashic Record. There may be some slight reason to doubt this claim.)
            >
            > - Roger
            >
            > --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on
            >
          • carynlouise24
            ... Memory and Phantasy By Eugen Kolisko MD (Vienna) Memory is due to the action of thinking. The impressions made upon the soul by way of the senses remain in
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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              --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on, the texts and ideas that were current at the time he was formulating his worldview. Much of Helmut Zander's work on the history of anthroposophy focuses on this process, and the results are very illuminating for a historical understanding of Steiner and the movement he founded. The same approach can be applied to Steiner's racial teachings. Anthroposophy's basic assumptions about race and its spiritual significance drew on many sources, some of them esoteric and others scientific, with a considerable role for popular works as well. In a sense, Steiner's racial doctrines represent an ongoing effort to negotiate between esoteric and scientific approaches.
              >
              >
              >
              > Here is an example of the kind of scientific literature Steiner relied on in forming his racial views, a short book (under 50 pages total) in Steiner's library. The book is Alexander Pilcz, Beitrag zur vergleichenden Rassen-Psychiatrie (Wien: Deuticke, 1906), a study of "comparative racial psychiatry". Uwe Werner's recent book 'Rudolf Steiner zu Individuum und Rasse' (Dornach: Verlag am Goetheanum, 2011), 17, claims that the book contains not a trace of 'racial hygiene' notions. In reality, the book's very first pages highlight the "extreme differences" in the "cultural level" of the different racial and ethnic groups examined (iv); Pilcz concentrates on "Germans," "Jews," "Hungarians," "Chinese," and "Hottentots," among others. The book lists various mental illnesses according to how predominantly they appear in different racial and ethnic groups, with data taken mostly from clinics throughout the Habsburg lands. The book is forthrightly biologistic, emphasizing race as the root of these supposed findings. Much of the text is devoted to the Jews.
              >
              >
              >
              > The book asserts that Jews display disproportionate rates of paranoia, indeed the highest rates of any group, particularly for the "hereditary-degenerative forms" of paranoia. (15) Pilcz emphasizes "the especially strong disposition of the Jewish race toward hysteria," for instance (18). His chapter on non-European peoples starts with sections on the "Aryans" (25-26) and the "Semites" (26-32), followed by the "Mongolian race" (32-35), the "Malayan race" (35-39), the "Indians" (i.e. Native Americans, 39-40) and the "Negroes" (40-43). The "Semites" get by far the longest section -- lots of pathologies there. Among other things, the book posits as fact a "greater disposition of the Jewish race to mental disorders as such." (28) It also claims that "the Jews are disproportionately strongly disposed to psychoses of a hereditary-degenerative character." (29) The last page refers straightforwardly to "lower races" (44).
              >
              >
              >
              > Steiner's own statements on race were shaped in part by sources like this. Anthroposophy's racial ideas can be better understood in the light of this sort of background. Greetings to all,
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Peter S.
              >

              Memory and Phantasy
              By Eugen Kolisko MD (Vienna)

              Memory is due to the action of thinking. The impressions made upon the soul by way of the senses remain in the human organism. Just as certain conceptions of an object arise within the soul, so is memory due to the fact that after an impression has been made through the senses there remains a picture of the object. Memory, therefore, may be said to be reproductive.

              Many people, not only the scientists, have been struck by the fact that memory shows evidence of the same laws that are characteristic of heredity. Think of a growing plant, where the same form of leaf is reproduced again and again. A force which reproduces the same form many times is at work here and exactly the same thing holds good of memory. Memory reproduces the same form, only in a more spiritual sense.

              We must now pass on to consider a faculty of the soul that is opposite in character to memory — namely, phantasy. In nature and in function these faculties of memory and phantasy are contradictory to each other. Memory very often claims to be able to represent the whole truth in connection with an event or a phenomenon. We may say that in its claims in this direction memory is often `pedantic.' The sister-faculty of phantasy is altogether different. Phantasy is connected with the element of artistic creation. Memory is concerned only with the past, with reproduction of what has been. Phantasy, however, introduces variation and is directed towards the future. Phantasy paints the future in glowing colours, builds `castles in the air' as we say. It is quite clear that phantasy has something in common with dreaming. The relation of memory to life of dream, however, is altogether different. At the moment of waking our dreams may still seem very vividly with us, because the faculty of memory which has to do with events in our waking consciousness, has not yet begun to function. But after we have been awake for some minutes, then memory comes into play and our dreams elude us.

              The interest we take in objects and phenomena is a centrifugal force, due to the action of the blood in the sense-organs. Children have more blood in their sense-organs than grown-up people, and that is why their interest in the things of the outside world is so much more intense. Children cannot, in fact, always register things as they actually are and will often tell phantastic stores of what they have seen. When this happens at an early age it is quite normal, but if it continues until a later age, then a corrective is necessary, for now it is an abnormal process.

              This is an indication of the fact that for every illness — which is an abnormal process — there is a corresponding normal process. We shall understand the nature of illness if we can discover the point at which the symptoms were themselves the expression of a normal process. Let us take a characteristic example, namely, the illness of sclerosis. Because the head is so full of dead, mineral substance, man has the capacity to think abstract thoughts, i.e. thoughts that are `abstracted' from the immediate physical reality. This mineralising process is absolutely normal when it is confined to the head, but if the same forces that set up the mineralisation there, pass over to the rest of the organism, sclerosis arises.


              Rudolf Steiner: The Being of Man and His Future Evolution, Illness and Karma

              Man is born on the one side into these forces of heredity. His physical and etheric body inherit the qualities that can be passed down through the generations. This hereditary stream is, of course, bound to have some measure of external connection with the karma our soul has set itself. For as it comes down from the spiritual world our soul is attracted to the kind of parents through whom it can inherit those qualities that come closest to our requirements. They never, however, entirely correspond, for in the body this cannot be so. There is always a certain discrepancy between the forces of heredity and what the soul brings with it from the past. Now it all depends on whether the soul is strong enough to overcome all the obstacles in the line of heredity, and is capable of re-forming the organism during the course of a lifetime, so that it overcomes what does not suit it. People vary a great deal in this respect. Some souls have acquired great strength in the course of previous incarnations. A soul of this nature has to incarnate in the most suitable body possible, though it will not be absolutely suitable. Yet this soul might be strong enough more or less to overcome everything not suited to it, though this is not necessarily always the case. Let us follow this up in detail by looking at the brain.

              This instrument of our life of concepts and ideas is inherited externally through our line of heredity. Its delicate convolutions are formed in one way or another according to this line of heredity. The soul will always to some extent have the inner strength to overcome what does not suit it and bring its instrument into harmony with its own forces, but only to a certain extent. The stronger the soul is the better it can do this. And if circumstances are such that it becomes impossible for the soul forces to overcome the resistance in the composition of the brain, the brain cannot be used properly. And then there occurs what we call mental defectiveness, mental illness. A melancholic temperament arises too, because the soul forces are not strong enough to overcome certain things in the organism. In the middle of life — it is different at the beginning and at the end — the forces of our soul always encounter a certain unsuitability in their instrument. This is the secret that always lies hidden behind the inner conflict and disharmony in human nature. What men often imagine to be the reason for their discontent is usually just a mask. In reality the reasons for it are as we have described. Thus we see the relationship between what the soul takes with it from incarnation to incarnation and what it receives from the line of heredity.

              For instance we see typical cases of children's diseases appearing at certain times. These show nothing else than that the child is learning inner control of a certain part of his organism, after which he can then be in control of it in all his future incarnations. We should regard illness as a process that makes a person capable.
            • carynlouise24
              ... The Principle of Spiritual Economy `When a number of human beings are to descend from a particular progenitor, a special provision must be made for this in
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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                --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "Roger Rawlings" <downfromfog@...> wrote:
                >
                > Thanks very much, Peter.
                >
                > I would be fascinated to learn anything else you can tell us — now or in the future — about Steiner's library and sources. (As we know, he claimed to acquire knowledge through clairvoyant reading of the Akashic Record. There may be some slight reason to doubt this claim.)
                >
                > - Roger
                >
                > --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@> wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > One of the important factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings is taking a look at the sources he drew on
                >

                The Principle of Spiritual Economy

                `When a number of human beings are to descend from a particular progenitor, a special provision must be made for this in the spiritual world. In the case of Shem, the provision was that an etheric body was specially woven for him from the spiritual world, which he was to carry.

                In contrast to the copies of Shem's etheric body, the copies of the astral and etheric bodies of Jesus of Nazareth had another special characteristic. The copies of Shem's etheric body could be implanted only into his own descendants whereas the copies of the etheric body and the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth could be implanted into all human beings of the most diverse peoples and races. A copy of the archetypal astral and etheric bodies of Jesus of Nazareth could be implanted in anyone who through his or her personal development had become ready for this transfer, no matter what race such an individual belonged to.'


                The Etheric flows from the past into the future
                The Astral comes from the future into the past
                The I meets the two streams in the present

                The Etheric contains all that has been experienced
                The Astral holds all that will be experienced
              • Peter Staudenmaier
                Roger and Eric raised some interesting questions about Steiner s sources. It can be difficult for anthroposophists to acknowledge the importance of these
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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                  Roger and Eric raised some interesting questions about Steiner's sources. It can be difficult for anthroposophists to acknowledge the importance of these historical factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings. Just today, for example, I got another message from anthroposophist Jonathan Code ("quintessential"), yet another Expert on Epistemology, who believes that understanding texts comes not through reading but through "an engagement with the exercise of exact sensorial imagination." This is the same mistake that Dennis made, that Joel made, that Brad made, and so forth. The error makes it hard for Steiner enthusiasts to figure out what non-anthroposophists are talking about: they think we are demeaning Steiner by paying attention to the context within which he lived and thought and wrote and taught.

                  One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an inventory, of Steiner's library. There are fragmentary indications of Steiner's sources scattered throughout the notes to various volumes of Steiner's collected works as well as the publications of anthroposophist archivists and such; I only know about the book I discussed yesterday because Uwe Werner mentions it in his latest book. (He meant it, tellingly, as an example of Steiner informing himself by drawing on non-racist sources!) And as I have pointed out before, even the more historically informed anthroposophists sometimes have trouble making basic sense of Steiner's writings, in the most literal sense, because of unfamiliarity with the historical context. Here is an otherwise insignificant instance I discussed a few months ago, from Robin Schmidt's recent book Rudolf Steiner und die Anfänge der Theosophie (Rudolf Steiner Verlag 2010). p. 136:


                  Schmidt reports here that he can't figure out what a handwritten note by Steiner refers to. In this case, it isn't a matter of Steiner's handwriting (in the old German script, lots of letters were effectively indistinguishable in certain contexts) but a matter of unfamiliarity with Steiner's early work and his intellectual milieu. Attempting to decipher Steiner's handwritten note, Schmidt refers to an essay about "Lotti". Steiner was in fact referring to an essay titled "Loki", his contribution to a volume dedicated to Steiner's friend Ludwig Jacobowski. The text in question is Rudolf Steiner, "Loki", in Marie Stona, ed., Ludwig Jacobowski im Lichte des Lebens (Breslau: Schlesische Verlags-Anstalt, 1901), 53-69. Schmidt seems entirely unaware of the volume and of Steiner's contribution to it. This is a relatively minor oversight, but it does illustrate a basic pattern in anthroposophical interpretations of Steiner.


                  Eric also asked about a concrete matter:


                  > Re."Steiner's library"
                  >
                  > I am sure Peter can say more about Steiner's actual sources. What I
                  > noticed while checking Steiner's library at the R.St.archive, is that
                  > (apparently deliberately ripped out) large sections are missing from
                  > the books in his private library.
                  >
                  > Given the fact that carrying around a lot of books can indeed be heavy
                  > (and might be noticeable by the people who end up carrying the luggage
                  > of `clairvoyant' Steiner during his travels) I wondered if this maybe
                  > is an indication that he ripped out the portions he thought he might
                  > use or somehow felt he wanted to have with him, yet would fit in his
                  > own briefcase.


                  Steiner did indeed do this fairly frequently, taking pages from various books along with him on lecture tours. Helmut Zander describes several instances in his history of anthroposophy in Germany. It isn't an unusual practice, much less an objectionable one (except perhaps to strict bibliophiles horrified at the thought of removing pages from books), and indicates Steiner's willingness to incorporate a wide spectrum of sources into his own teachings. Some anthroposophists nonetheless find it troubling, because it disrupts the naive notion of Steiner as a herald of Timeless Truths and clairvoyant wisdom and returns Steiner to the status of a historical figure. Greetings to all,


                  Peter S.
                • Roger Rawlings
                  ... Steiner insisted that he developed his doctrines not through reading or speculation, but through his own clairvoyant observations, as when he wrote [M]y
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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                    A few years back, I pulled together a brief list of some of Steiner's sources. I was not attempting to be encyclopedic or complete, but simply to indicate that, as far as we can see — and contrary to his own claims — Steiner acquired information the same way everyone else does: by reading, going to museums, and so forth. Here is what I wrote then [ https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/steiners-science :

                    ----

                    Steiner insisted that he developed his doctrines not through reading or speculation, but through his own clairvoyant observations, as when he wrote "[M]y knowledge of spiritual things is the result of my own [psychic] perception." [Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 6.] Steiner made the same claim several times. For example:  "[T]he purpose of this book is to depict some portions of the supersensible world ... It is only through knowledge of the supersensible that our sense-perceptible `reality' acquires meaning ... In compiling this book, I have included nothing I cannot testify to on the basis of personal experience in this field. Only my direct experience is presented here." [THEOSOPHY: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), pp. 7-8.] The term "supersensible" applies to things we cannot perceive with our ordinary senses. By supersensible faculties, Steiner meant clairvoyance and its precursors. By supersensible world(s) or realm(s), he meant the spirit realm.

                    Despite his claim, it is apparent that Steiner drew his doctrines from his extensive reading and other non-clairvoyant activities. When critics and reviewers pointed to his sources, Steiner revised his works, slightly, and insisted all the more firmly that his insights came from his own psychic study of the spirit realm. Innumerable volumes affirming or dissecting mysticism, magic, spiritualism, and the like, were available in Steiner's time. Helena Blavatsky, a founder of Theosophy, published THE SECRET DOCTRINE in 1888 — Steiner, who for a while headed the Theosophical Society in Germany, adapted many of his doctrines from it. Other influential volumes of the period were Richard M. Bucke's COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS, which came out in 1901, and Rufus M. Jones' STUDIES IN MYSTICAL RELIGION, published in 1908. There were many more, in English and in German, some stemming from deep in the past.

                    Blavatsky was Steiner's greatest source. Steiner's Anthroposophy is, to a great extent, merely a reworking of Blatvastky's Theosophy. The link is clear, for example, in the book mentioned above, Steiner's THEOSOPHY, which "begins by describing the threefold nature of the human being: the body, or sense-world; the soul, or inner world; and the spirit, or universal world of cosmic archetypes. A profound discussion of reincarnation and karma follows, concluding with a description of the soul's journey through regions of the supersensible world after death." [Rudolf Steiner, SOCIAL ISSUES (SteinerBooks, 1991), p. 151.] In brief, THEOSOPHY outlines the path to "higher knowledge" that lies at the core of Anthroposophy. After Steiner broke from Theosophy, he developed variations to Theosophical doctrines; but his debt to Blavatsky remains clear.

                    Here are a few more of Steiner's vast array of sources.
                     
                    o Steiner was a student of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — he read Goethe's works devotedly, beginning early in his life. "Then for the first time I read Goethe's FAUST." [Rudolf Steiner, THE STORY OF MY LIFE [Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928], p. 37.] "I cannot tell you what I felt when this came before my soul and I read again these lines by Goethe: From heaven through the earth they're pressing!" [Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE ARCHANGELS [Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996], p. 65.] Goethe's work reverberates throughout Steiner's books and lectures — a point I will return to.   

                    o Steiner was influenced, as well, by the "nature philosophy" of Friedrich Joseph von Schelling. "Rudolf Steiner ... uses his first visit to Vienna `to purchase a great number of philosophy books'" including works by Schelling. [Rudolf Steiner, A WAY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE (SteinerBooks, 2006), p. 156.] He strove to learn whether Schelling was right that one can penetrate to the Eternal, and he claimed success. "I discovered this capacity in myself." [Ibid., p. 157.]   

                    o Steiner claimed deep knowledge of gnostic Christian writings. When critics said he "was merely reviving the ideas of Christian Gnosticism," he asserted that he proved gnostic truths by using his clairvoyance. [Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE: An Outline (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 12.]  

                    o In his lecture "The History of Spiritualism" Steiner names various spiritualists whose work he claims to comprehend. He mentions Robert Fludd, Emanuel Swedenborg, Justinus Kerner, Johann Friedrich von Mayer, among others, and he alludes to their writings — e.g., "Mayer, who wrote a book from the standpoint of spiritualism about Hades...." [Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUALISM, MADAME BLAVATSKY, AND THEOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 69.] Of course, Steiner disparages the various forms of spiritualism as compared to his own doctrines.
                      
                    o Steiner professed knowledge of Johann Valentin Andreae's manuscript, THE CHYMICAL WEDDING OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ, that presents Rosicrucian secrets. "[H]ow is it that as a quite young man he composed a document in THE CHYMICAL WEDDING that he published as information concerning true Rosicrucianism? ... There is no need to connect the content of THE CHYMICAL WEDDING with Andreae's age at the time he wrote it...." [CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 71.]  

                    o Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, an apostle of numerology and magic, wrote in the 16th century. Steiner said he knew his work. "In his writings, Agrippa assigns to each planet what he calls the Intelligence [sic] of the planet. This points to traditions that had existed from ancient times...." [Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 262.]  

                    o Nostradamus, an astrologer and seer, wrote at about the same time as Agrippa. Steiner discussed Nostradamus's writings, including one comfortably accurate forecast. "Nostradamus ... was able to foretell the future. He wrote a number of prophetic verses ... The Theosophical Society is nothing less than a fulfillment of this prophecy of Nostradamus." [Rudolf Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 27 — Steiner was a Theosophist before establishing his variant, Anthroposophy.]  

                    o The Egyptian Book of the Dead predates Christ by approximately 1,500 years. Steiner was able to discuss its contents. "When it leaves the body — so The Egyptian Book of the Dead testifies — it enters the realm of Osiris...." [ISIS MARY SOPHIA (SteinerBooks, 2004), p. 96.]  

                    o Steiner's explorations included works of poetry and fiction, which he used as illustrations of his ideas but also, evidently, as sources of ideas. "One could cite many examples of how the inspiration of the Knights Templar has been drawn into souls. I will read you a passage from the poem `Ahasver' by Julius Mosen...." [Rudolf Steiner, THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), pp. 61-62.]  "Central to the spiritual work on inner development is what Rudolf Steiner calls (following Bulwer Lytton, who introduced the term in his Rosicrucian novel ZANONI)...." [Rudolf Steiner, START NOW! (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 243, Christopher Bamford, editor — the reference is to the concept of the Guardian of the Threshold.]  

                    o Steiner, similarly, was well acquainted with numerous myths, legends, and fairy tales that he argued are essentially true. "Myths and sagas are not just 'folk-tales'; they are the memories of the visions people perceived in olden times ... At night they were really surrounded by the world of the Nordic gods of which the legends tell. Odin, Freya, and all the other figures [i.e., Norse gods] in Nordic mythology were not inventions; they were experienced in the spiritual world with as much reality as we experience our fellow human beings around us today." [Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 198.] Steiner gathered myths and other fabulous tales from his reading and also, evidently, from various mentors. "Reinhold Köhle had roved around with unique comprehensiveness in the myths, fairy-tales, and sagas ... I came in once and asked for a book...." [THE STORY OF MY LIFE, pp. 151-152.] 

                    Conceivably, Steiner learned the contents of many texts through the use of clairvoyance rather than through the more straightforward process known as reading. But there is scant reason to think so. Steiner, a Ph.D., was a bookish man.  

                    o Steiner also gathered information by visiting museums, although presumably this was no more necessary for him than reading, if knowledge was open to him through clairvoyant means. "At this point, let me make a personal remark. When ... we go into a natural history museum we are confronted by something really miraculous ... I visited the museum in Trieste...." [Rudolf Steiner, THE GODDESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001) pp. 32-33.]

                    Here are just a few of the terms and concepts that Steiner derived from his reading, museum hops, etc., and then recycled in his books and lectures.
                    o Karma is originally a Hindu concept.
                    o Reincarnation is a belief shared by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists.
                    o Ahriman was introduced to the world by Zoroaster.
                    o Vulcan was originally the Roman god of fire.
                    o The legend of Atlantis began with Plato. Lemuria, or Mu, was an even more ancient lost continent, a notion rooted in Polynesian lore.
                    o In classical mythology, Lucifer (or Phosphorus) was the herald of the dawn; Christians later adopted "Lucifer" as the name for Satan as he was before man's fall. o The war of all against all is a conception of Thomas Hobbes.
                    o During the nineteenth century, if evolution was accepted at all, it was often reworked as a scheme of divinely directed progress.
                    o Etheric bodies and astral bodies are Theosophical concepts.
                    o Other Theosophical concepts Steiner adopted include nature spirits (deriving originally from pagan nature worship) and root races.
                    oThe four humours were first conceived by the ancient Greeks. oIn occult tradition, the Akashic records are written on Akasha, a universal ether, which mediates clairvoyance.
                    o In Western folklore, goblins are mischievous or malicious sprites; gnomes are deformed goblins living underground and guarding treasures.
                    o The Guardian of the Threshold comes from the novel ZANONI (reprinted by Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1971).
                    o Steiner's pantheon is inhabited by beings taken from Norse myths and similar sources (see Odin and Freya, mentioned above). [For much of this information, I am indebted to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA at www.britannica.com .]

                    Anthroposophists often cite the work of other mystics and thinkers as confirmation: Steiner must be right, because his work contains themes and patterns also found elsewhere. But Blavatsky and Steiner specifically sought to sweep up elements from multiple sources, working to affirm apparent parallels and to reconcile apparent conflicts. The recurrence of various themes and patterns in sundry traditions may reflect underlying truths, or it may simply reveal the process of borrowing and mutual influence, as well as the unconscious predispositions of human psychology. Steiner's work naturally reflects the sources from which he drew, but often the results are discordant, as in his effort to reconcile reincarnation and Christianity.

                    -----

                    As I say, the above is by no means a complete survey of Steiner's sources. I will be grateful to Peter and anyone else who can tell us more about the books Steiner owned and read, the museums he visited, and all of his other terrestrial information-gathering efforts.

                    - Roger
                  • carynlouise24
                    ... I have thought the non-dogmatic doctrine to be the true essence of Anthroposophy as each person has individual and unique experience. Rudolf Steiner meant
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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                      --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Roger and Eric raised some interesting questions about Steiner's sources. It can be difficult for anthroposophists to acknowledge the importance of these historical factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings. Just today, for example, I got another message from anthroposophist Jonathan Code ("quintessential"), yet another Expert on Epistemology, who believes that understanding texts comes not through reading but through "an engagement with the exercise of exact sensorial imagination." This is the same mistake that Dennis made, that Joel made, that Brad made, and so forth. The error makes it hard for Steiner enthusiasts to figure out what non-anthroposophists are talking about: they think we are demeaning Steiner by paying attention to the context within which he lived and thought and wrote and taught.
                      >
                      > One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an inventory, of Steiner's library. There are fragmentary indications of Steiner's sources scattered throughout the notes to various volumes of Steiner's collected works as well as the publications of anthroposophist archivists and such;


                      I have thought the non-dogmatic doctrine to be the true essence of Anthroposophy as each person has individual and unique experience. Rudolf Steiner meant for us to think for ourselves, to research and investigate for ourselves, in accordance for the age of the spiritual soul in that today anything dogmatic is foreign to the soul where it keenly feels the Living Logos.

                      The archive material I have thought; if one was astute one would be able to, eventually, discern four points of view through all the lectures:

                      St John – The Spiritual Soul

                      St Luke – The Mind Soul

                      St Mark – The Sentient Soul

                      and

                      St Matthew – Harmonises these three

                      *


                      (PS: Roger nice research but a few fundamental errors – one must be careful of the web one weaves because at the end of the day you will eventually have to untangle it and then it might only be fragments of the truth)


                      Caryn
                    • Eric
                      Re. One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an inventory, of Steiner s library. Yes that is surprising. At the R.St.
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 17, 2011
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                        Re. "One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an
                        inventory, of Steiner's library. "

                        Yes that is surprising.

                        At the R.St. archive ( 3 years ago when I was there) they showed me a list with all the books where it is also each time listed which pages fail in which book.

                        Plus in addition they have bound photocopies with the first 3-4 pages (front cover table of content and so on) of each of the books, including a copy of those pages where Steiner made any marks or/and remarks.

                        With the flurry of biographies this year I am surprised none of these authors bothered to take a closer look at that, or at least made any mention of it.

                        Of course when Zander wrote his thesis the above might not have been available yet for otherwise I think he certainly would have asked to see it I would presume.

                        Today I noticed a review of Werner's book, here:

                        http://www.info3.de/c5-style/index.php/magazin/info3/archiv/2011/maerz/wichtige-hinweise-falsche-praemissen/

                        And that Werner added a "Nachsatz " about your dissertation with "Korrekturen" in his book?

                        Find it od however that the reviewer seems to mention only " Faschism" whereas your thesis was very much also about the 1930's Nazi era in Germany.

                        And with Steiners "Volksseelenlehre vor 1900 " the reviewer I presume is referring to Steiner political (pan-germanist) period, not a usage of a Theosophical "Volksseelenlehre" in the case of Steiner.

                        Regards,

                        Eric


                        --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > Roger and Eric raised some interesting questions about Steiner's sources. It can be difficult for anthroposophists to acknowledge the importance of these historical factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings. Just today, for example, I got another message from anthroposophist Jonathan Code ("quintessential"), yet another Expert on Epistemology, who believes that understanding texts comes not through reading but through "an engagement with the exercise of exact sensorial imagination." This is the same mistake that Dennis made, that Joel made, that Brad made, and so forth. The error makes it hard for Steiner enthusiasts to figure out what non-anthroposophists are talking about: they think we are demeaning Steiner by paying attention to the context within which he lived and thought and wrote and taught.
                        >
                        > One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an inventory, of Steiner's library. There are fragmentary indications of Steiner's sources scattered throughout the notes to various volumes of Steiner's collected works as well as the publications of anthroposophist archivists and such; I only know about the book I discussed yesterday because Uwe Werner mentions it in his latest book. (He meant it, tellingly, as an example of Steiner informing himself by drawing on non-racist sources!) And as I have pointed out before, even the more historically informed anthroposophists sometimes have trouble making basic sense of Steiner's writings, in the most literal sense, because of unfamiliarity with the historical context. Here is an otherwise insignificant instance I discussed a few months ago, from Robin Schmidt's recent book Rudolf Steiner und die Anfänge der Theosophie (Rudolf Steiner Verlag 2010). p. 136:
                        >
                        >
                        > Schmidt reports here that he can't figure out what a handwritten note by Steiner refers to. In this case, it isn't a matter of Steiner's handwriting (in the old German script, lots of letters were effectively indistinguishable in certain contexts) but a matter of unfamiliarity with Steiner's early work and his intellectual milieu. Attempting to decipher Steiner's handwritten note, Schmidt refers to an essay about "Lotti". Steiner was in fact referring to an essay titled "Loki", his contribution to a volume dedicated to Steiner's friend Ludwig Jacobowski. The text in question is Rudolf Steiner, "Loki", in Marie Stona, ed., Ludwig Jacobowski im Lichte des Lebens (Breslau: Schlesische Verlags-Anstalt, 1901), 53-69. Schmidt seems entirely unaware of the volume and of Steiner's contribution to it. This is a relatively minor oversight, but it does illustrate a basic pattern in anthroposophical interpretations of Steiner.
                        >
                        >
                        > Eric also asked about a concrete matter:
                        >
                        >
                        > > Re."Steiner's library"
                        > >
                        > > I am sure Peter can say more about Steiner's actual sources. What I
                        > > noticed while checking Steiner's library at the R.St.archive, is that
                        > > (apparently deliberately ripped out) large sections are missing from
                        > > the books in his private library.
                        > >
                        > > Given the fact that carrying around a lot of books can indeed be heavy
                        > > (and might be noticeable by the people who end up carrying the luggage
                        > > of `clairvoyant' Steiner during his travels) I wondered if this maybe
                        > > is an indication that he ripped out the portions he thought he might
                        > > use or somehow felt he wanted to have with him, yet would fit in his
                        > > own briefcase.
                        >
                        >
                        > Steiner did indeed do this fairly frequently, taking pages from various books along with him on lecture tours. Helmut Zander describes several instances in his history of anthroposophy in Germany. It isn't an unusual practice, much less an objectionable one (except perhaps to strict bibliophiles horrified at the thought of removing pages from books), and indicates Steiner's willingness to incorporate a wide spectrum of sources into his own teachings. Some anthroposophists nonetheless find it troubling, because it disrupts the naive notion of Steiner as a herald of Timeless Truths and clairvoyant wisdom and returns Steiner to the status of a historical figure. Greetings to all,
                        >
                        >
                        > Peter S.
                        >
                      • Peter Staudenmaier
                        ... Yes, Werner s recent book includes a 9 page postscript responding to my dissertation. It doesn t say much. In several instances Werner seems to have
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 18, 2011
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                          Eric wrote:


                          > And that Werner added a "Nachsatz " about your dissertation with
                          > "Korrekturen" in his book?


                          Yes, Werner's recent book includes a 9 page postscript responding to my dissertation. It doesn't say much. In several instances Werner seems to have straightforwardly misunderstood my text, perhaps due to language difficulties (nearly every quotation from a source in English contains errors). For example, in addressing my brief discussion of Friedrich Lienhard, Werner notes that Steiner broke from Lienhard in 1924. He apparently thought this contradicted my account. But I had already pointed out in the dissertation that Lienhard broke from anthroposophy a couple years before that. Werner seems to have missed many things like this. In another case, he conflates 'anthroposophist' with 'member of the Anthroposophical Society'. Unfortunately the whole postscript is on that level. On several especially striking occasions, he is plainly surprised by things that have been established in the secondary literature for decades; another example of anthroposophist unfamiliarity with their own chosen topics. There may well be more perspicacious anthroposophist reactions to the dissertation once it appears in book form. But much of the response is likely to follow the expected patterns.


                          Peter S.
                        • tankazoo
                          Rudolf Steiner meant for us to think for ourselves
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jan 19, 2012
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                            "Rudolf Steiner meant for us to think for ourselves"





                            --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "carynlouise24" <carynlouise24@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Roger and Eric raised some interesting questions about Steiner's sources. It can be difficult for anthroposophists to acknowledge the importance of these historical factors in making sense of Steiner's teachings. Just today, for example, I got another message from anthroposophist Jonathan Code ("quintessential"), yet another Expert on Epistemology, who believes that understanding texts comes not through reading but through "an engagement with the exercise of exact sensorial imagination." This is the same mistake that Dennis made, that Joel made, that Brad made, and so forth. The error makes it hard for Steiner enthusiasts to figure out what non-anthroposophists are talking about: they think we are demeaning Steiner by paying attention to the context within which he lived and thought and wrote and taught.
                            > >
                            > > One significant gap in the anthroposophical literature is a study, or even an inventory, of Steiner's library. There are fragmentary indications of Steiner's sources scattered throughout the notes to various volumes of Steiner's collected works as well as the publications of anthroposophist archivists and such;
                            >
                            >
                            > I have thought the non-dogmatic doctrine to be the true essence of Anthroposophy as each person has individual and unique experience. Rudolf Steiner meant for us to think for ourselves, to research and investigate for ourselves, in accordance for the age of the spiritual soul in that today anything dogmatic is foreign to the soul where it keenly feels the Living Logos.
                            >
                            > The archive material I have thought; if one was astute one would be able to, eventually, discern four points of view through all the lectures:
                            >
                            > St John – The Spiritual Soul
                            >
                            > St Luke – The Mind Soul
                            >
                            > St Mark – The Sentient Soul
                            >
                            > and
                            >
                            > St Matthew – Harmonises these three
                            >
                            > *
                            >
                            >
                            > (PS: Roger nice research but a few fundamental errors – one must be careful of the web one weaves because at the end of the day you will eventually have to untangle it and then it might only be fragments of the truth)
                            >
                            >
                            > Caryn
                            >
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